Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Wiffle Ball is Life

You know what, I hate those stupid shirts with retarded sayings (like the title of this Blog entry) that a lot of people were wearing in the late 90s. Stuff like, “Football is Life … Nothing Else Matters!” or crap like that. It was just so obnoxious and was a completely transparent way to get people to ask if you play that sport. And if they did already know that you played that sport, then this shirt just emphasizes how EXTREME you were about your devotion to it.

Give me a break. And the worst part is that it wasn’t just aggressive sports, soon there were shirts trumpeting how nothing else mattered besides golf or tennis or track. Then it was even dumbed down even more to pseudo sports like pool and cheerleading and darts. As long as you put a wacky saying or a “phrase with attitude” on a white cotton t-shirt, people will buy millions of them.

Anyway, despite the lameness of the title, it does reflect the art in the strip. I wanted to juxtapose the realness of a seemingly light moment with how that moment ends for the defeated. This is especially true in a game like wiffle ball.

Get your head out of the 90s man, it’s time for a brand new century. You can start doing so here: www.room19comics.com

In my life, I’ve played close to one thousand wiffle ball games and I couldn’t tell you a damned thing about any of them. At the time of the game, it was very important to get a pitch to hit the chair, or slam a homer or squeak a run in. That is why the game wiffle ball works so well as a microcosm of life.

Ten years ago today, you were probably working on a very important project, whether at school or at work. Can you remember what it was? If it was me, I was finishing up my last year in college and working towards my minor in visual arts. My English classes were about done, so I had a photography class, a painting class an art history class, a modern Irish lit class and something else. (Shit, I can’t believe that I remember that.)

At the time all of those classes had an important project that was no doubt due either on this day or within a week and I was probably obsessing about it. Or maybe I was thinking about a chick or a party or getting more money. In any case, one of those thoughts was the most important thing in my life and now I couldn’t remember what it was if you had a gun to my head.

Thus it goes with this comic, that last was so important the characters were drawn with an amount of realism that I don’t normally use in this medium. After the moment passed, they were drawn as they usually are, in the cartoon style. That’s the basic message to this strip: for the most part, things are only important when you are in that moment, after the moment passes, the important becomes mundane.

There is an underlying message too and that is, if you lose the once important becomes trivial and when you win, the once important becomes legendary. We’ve all had games like Eddie has where you’re the goat, and the worst part isn’t giving up the homer or rimming out a shot, it’s the crap you get after the game. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known the guy for 20 minutes or he’s your life-long friend, it’s going to sting either way.

The idea for this strip has been percolating in my head for a couple of months, but I had been nervous to try and do it because I didn’t think that I could do it. I feel that I did a pretty good job of having the proper perspective of each of the “real” ball players, especially the pitcher. I didn’t use anything as a model for that panel. The second panel, I used a picture of Ted Williams, but the first panel I used my memory.

The one thing that I am unhappy with is the way I drew Eddie in the third panel. I wanted Kurt to be in the foreground and Eddie in the front glowering at him as he ran around the yard. I ended up making Eddie too big, and in my opinion, too menacing. He looks like a gorilla, which wasn’t my point at all. But as much as I dislike Eddie in the third panel, I think him slinking home, shoulders slumped, solemnly carrying his bat while Kurt loudly rags on him is one of my favorite panels.

By the way, in case you didn’t get the explanations, it’s supposed to be an announcer adding to the realism and drama of the situation by describing the play-by-play. I think that it works.

This is the big week for the Magrane family, tomorrow morning we go to the registry of deeds and we sign our closing papers for the new condo. I honestly can’t believe that I’m going to be a homeowner. It’s mind blowing to me. I’m nervous, excited, scared, pumped all at once.

This Thursday, Friday and Saturday I’m going to be up to elbows in paint and primer. I don’t think it’s going to take that many days to get the whole place done (especially with the amount of help that we’re getting), but it’s still going to suck. Sunday, the guys are coming over and we’re going to move a bunch of things from the apartment over to the condo. It shouldn’t take as long as last year’s move did (that was a fucking nightmare), but there are better ways to spend a Sunday.

With all of this moving, I am going to have to put the strip on hold for next week. I may do a Blog entry or two, but there won’t be a new comic strip until February 8. So until then …